Blueberry Hand Pies or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the crust”.

I am a Scorpio.

Not that it really means anything, but there is one Scorpio type characteristic that I do have and that is I can be brutally honest about myself. No illusions. Okay, some illusions. But at least I am aware they are illusions and I just like hanging on to them.

We can all use an illusion now and again to help get through the days.

But I digress.

I can bake.

I can make bread with my eyes closed. I can do cookies, beat hell out of scones, and sticky buns? Well, they dare not come out anything but gooey and soft..

But I am worthless when it comes to making pies. Or at least pie crust. I know this about myself and I can still sleep nights.

I just do crisps and crumbles.

All the while my baking buddies are snapping out pie crust like tying shoes, no worries and whats my problem anyway? Crust is soooo easy?

So I begged. There may have been groveling.

“Teach me-Teach me!”

So finally this summer, one of my friends found  some time to show me her pie crust perfection. She made me do some of the rolling out too. You know what? I found out why my pie crusts were crapola!

For one thing, I rolled it too thin, I did not use enough flour on the counter and treated the dough too rough. She hardly touched it, rolled it out gently. She spoke in soft tones as though she were not wanting to wake up the baby.

And she made these wonderful, flaky, tender little blueberry pies.

Now a lot of people will not need to read this recipe. They are perfectly fine buying their crusts in the refrigerated section of the store. Other of you already are pie crust kings and queens. But for all of you that are left, maybe this will help.

I will share her recipe and tips with you. She has used the same recipe forever. I think, after watching her, a lot of it is in the technique. For example, she uses butter and butter flavored Crisco in her crust. If you used butter and lard, it would probably still work great. If you used vodka instead of water, it would still work I’m bettin’. It’s the technique! So watch here…

Here is what we are making, all plated up. With some ice cream nuzzled up against it and some mint as a refreshing splash of color.
Here is what we are making, all plated up. With some ice cream nuzzled up against it and some mint as a refreshing splash of color. The leftover blueberries went over the top, looking for all the other berries and wondering where they went. Go ahead, lick the screen.

Pie Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of butter, cold (1 cube)
  • 1/2 cup shortening, cold (like butter flavored Crisco)
  • scant 1/2 cup of cold water (iced or from the fridge)

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture has a combination of sandy crumbs and larger pea sized bits. You could do this in a food processor, but you must be careful not to overdo and have it all break down into sand. It’s the larger bits of butter that help give it that flakiness.

Add cold water all at once. Stir with a fork until incorporated and the dough can be handled. (it will be sticky).

Turn onto a floured rolling surface. Lightly coat surface with flour. But don’t be too shy with it either or you will have a sticky mess.After patting into a ball, divide dough in half. With a generously floured rolling-pin and rolling surface, roll to fit the pie plate, or in this case, roll to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Handle the dough as little as possible.

Okay, this is where it got tricky. I was rolling the dough too hard, getting it too thin and working it too rough. Gently roll it until it is the right size. I had to flip the dough, add flour under it, while it was still smaller. Roll, flour, flip, turn, roll. Here are some pictures, then we will get on with the Blueberry Hand Pies.

pastry cutter on the ready.
pastry cutter on the ready. Whats with the basil? Shes Italian, that’s what. They always need basil for something or other.
Putting together the dry ingredients.
Putting together the dry ingredients.
Give your biceps a work out, get cutting!
Give your biceps a work out, get cutting!
Notice the crumbs of different sizes.
Notice the crumbs of different sizes.
Now adding the water.
Now adding the water and tossing with a fork.
Its coming together!
Its coming together!
Get the board ready...
Get the board ready…Pat out the dough.
Roll em, flip em but oh so gently.
Roll em, flip em but oh so gently. What an awesome big board, huh?
Get out the ruler, 12 x 15
Get out the ruler, 12 x 15 for this recipe.
So half the dough is rolled out and cut into portions for the little Hand Pies.
So half the dough is rolled out and cut into portions for the little Hand Pies. See the lovely little lumps of butter? This might be the one I rolled out because the edges are rough, more like a map of Atlantis.

Now for the blueberries. Let me give you that recipe too. It actually uses 1 1/2 of the above recipe. So, this is one of those examples of where you should always read through a recipe before you start it! To make a regular pie, just use the recipe as is. For the hand pies, use half again as much.

Blueberry Hand Pies

  • 1 1/2 of the above crust recipe
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. (from the one you just denuded)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp of water for the wash over the top
  • 2 Tbsp. raw sugar

preheat your oven to 375.

Roll out as above, half the dough into a 12 x 15 rectangle. Cut them into 6 portions.

Now, toss the blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a bowl.

Brush the edges of the dough and all the cut edges with water. This helps the dough stick together.

Mound about 1/3 cup of blueberry filling in the center of each rectangle. Fold the dough over and press the edges to seal. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brushing with the egg wash and sprinkling with raw sugar.

Cut slits in the top.

Carefully lift hand pies and place on the parchment pan. Put in the oven for 35-40 minutes, rotating them half way through, upper pan switching with lower pan, fronts switching with backs. Yes, the juice will leak and it will make a mess. A beautiful mess.

Let cool just a tad, then dig in!

There it is all ready to be mixy-upied.
There it is all ready to be mixy-upied.
Mounded and folded over.
Mounded and folded over. Last little one.
Ready to pop into the oven...
Almost ready to pop into the oven…I think at this point they still needed egg wash and sugar.

IMG_4055 (800x598)

There are hardly words to express...
There are hardly words to express…So flaky, so tender and wonderful.

I hope you make them. I hope you enjoy them. Either way, I am making them most certainly. Then I will go hide in my room and eat at least 3.

Have a lovely rest of summer!

 

 

 

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